Rating: 5 stars out of 5
I sat on this review for a few days because I needed to absorb just how much the story meant to me. I was overwhelmed with not only the plot but with Michael Ferraiuolo’s performance. Let’s say I know which audiobook I’m nominating for best performance next year.
On the surface, this looks like it will be a book about a priest who yearns for the love of a rock star, but it’s far from that. It’s the story of a young man who loved another young man in their teens, but not enough to overcome his desire to enter the priesthood. Add to that some (poor) advice from his mother, who focused on the wrongness of loving another man rather than the rightness of having the freedom to love whoever he chooses in whichever way he chooses, and you have a gay priest who is an LGBTQ advocate. He also runs a center for homeless LGBTQ teens supported in part by the church and in part by grants and charitable donations.
The boy he loved, Nicholas Blumfeld, had been adopted at birth by two loving and supportive parents, but Nicky ran from them and his ghosts when Jasper turned from him, and he ended up as Nico Blue, lead singer and songwriter for Vespertine. After the demands of his career, his tour, and his manager lead him to one drug too many, he ends up in rehab and ultimately returns home to the parents who still love and support him.
Nicky and Jasper renew their friendship and ultimately their love for each other. We readers have the pleasure of watching that unfold as Nicky struggles through his recovery and Jasper struggles with his decision to continue as a priest or give it up for the man he realizes he still loves. The teens in the shelter play a major supportive role in this story as does Nicky’s family and Ramona, one of his bandmates. All were well-developed characters, some of whom I’d love to meet. The authors did a beautiful job of bringing this story to life and of showing the internal and external struggles both Nicky and Jasper faced—individually and together. This is one of those love stories I will remember for a long time. In fact, I loved this audiobook so much I bought the e-book as well. I’ll be rereading and relistening for a long time to come.
The beautiful cover design by Dar Albert features a handsome bare-chested man, a church window in the background and a guitar-playing, sunglasses-wearing rock star to the right—attractive and perfect for the story.
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